Stewart Gordon was born prematurely on Saturday, June 18, 1960, and entered this world weighing a little over 3 lbs. Given the times, Stu truly was a walking miracle and the firstborn to Bruce “Boogie” Gilbert and Linda May (Sawyer) McLaren. The McLarens resided in Paisley but relocated to Hamilton, near the Skyway Bridge, in 1963, as Bruce’s job took them there. That same year Stu welcomed younger sister Deb before the family was made complete with the arrival of Laurie in 1965. The children began school in Hamilton before returning to Paisley in 1972 where Stu finished public school. He attended and graduated from Walkerton District High School, before entering the trades. Stu took a job with Huron Electric, based out of Paisley, where he began as an apprentice electrician, attending trade school at George Brown in Toronto.
In the late 1970’s a young woman by the name of Cathy Helen Gammie caught Stu’s eye. Cathy originated from Paisley as well, and although they knew each other for much of their lives, their relationship only blossomed as they matured. Stu was living at home at the time and finishing up his apprenticeship whereby he obtained both his commercial and residential tickets. The young couple were married on Saturday, June 20, 1981, at Knox United Church, Paisley, and called Paisley home thereafter.
Once fully licensed, Stu began working with the IBEW – Local 1788 (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) on Lines & Stations whereby he spent a great deal of time on the road. During this period, Stu spent his weeks away from home, only returning to his family on the weekends. In the mid 1970’s, an opportunity arose whereby Stu joined the workforce at the B.N.P.D. where he began in construction. Shortly after, he moved to operations as a Control Tech and never looked back, retiring in 2016 at the age of 56. Stu was well respected at work, always helping where needed and standing up and encouraging those coworkers when needed. His shift was often referred to as the “A team” (I am not sure if that name and recognition came from Stu or a peer) but, needless to say, they were a close bunch away from work as well!
In October of 1983, Cathy and Stu welcomed their first son, Shawn. Jenn followed in 1985, along with the family spending a short period living in Peterborough, before returning to Paisley in 1986. The McLaren family was made complete with the arrival of Tyler in 1989. As the kids grew, they quickly became involved in local sports, which was a favourite pastime for Stu as well. The kids followed in his footsteps, playing hockey and baseball in their youth, with Stu often helping coach their teams. He himself enjoyed playing rec hockey and unlike many of us, he couldn’t wait until he reached the age of 35, so he could play in the rec hockey tournaments…. 🙂 Personally, I am not sure if he was more excited about hockey or socializing… but I think I know the answer! 🙂 He also enjoyed baseball and was a member of the Paisley Phantoms for many years.
During Tyler’s high school years, the “Stu Crew” was a staple in the annual Beefest baseball tournament with Stu toeing the rubber. He threw his fair share of pitches on that diamond, often with a cigarette hanging off his lip, until of course an umpire told him he couldn’t smoke while he pitched… needless to say, Stu was not too happy with that decision. Lol! Stu was an avid Blue Jay fan, even attending spring training twice in Florida with Tyler. Likewise, there weren’t too many games he missed on television. Back at home, Stu loved to grab his clubs and head out to the golf course whenever he could. He had a membership at SouthPort for several years and was a proud member of the PGA (Paisley Golf Association). Although a talented athlete, I think most of us would agree that Stu enjoyed the social aspect of the sport even more and connecting with his friends and teammates for a beverage (or maybe two) after the game was a must. When not playing, he could often be found giving back, as he was one of several who was behind the new ball diamond and batting cages built in Paisley.
Stu was also a member of the Paisley Kinsmen Club in his younger years and enjoyed helping at the legion whenever the need arose. It should be no surprise that he enjoyed spending his free time in his shop and garage. Many of you enjoyed a beverage or two in these man caves, where he would putter away, entertain family, friends, and guests, or just watch the ball game. The stories and memories that were made in these two spaces are endless… for a variety of reasons I might add! 🙂 But all joking aside, Stu loved this space, and entertaining. It didn’t matter if it was just friends stopping by for a Tuesday Bud, or an “after party” gathering, everyone was always welcome. After retiring, Stu took up woodworking and made many picture frames for family and friends. He also constructed several yard games, that are still enjoyed by family and friends alike. Another pastime that occupied more of his time after retirement was fishing.
Stu and Cathy enjoyed travelling together, and always looked forward to their yearly trips south, often to the Caribbean. They also experienced several national curling events across Canada, taking in The Brier and The Scotties on more than one occasion. Back at home, Stu was often entertained by the television. He enjoyed cooking shows (even though Cathy said he never cooked!), and SPORTS. He rarely missed a ball or hockey game and was becoming more attached to the NFL in recent years. It should be no surprise that he often had a cold “Bud” in hand while taking in the game. Stu was also an avid reader, and often read every morning while drinking his coffee and again before bed. His author of choice? Well, that would be James Patterson of course!
Everyone has memorable stories of adventures and escapades with Stu. Some can be repeated, others cannot…! The one adventure that stood out most for his family, was his inaugural boat trip. As the story goes, Stu was a few pops into his day whereby he decided it would be a great idea to get out on the water. Although there was much opposition, he was not going to be stopped, and Stu took his 10 ft. John Boat to the launch. Needless to say, he did not have the motor tightly secured to the boat when he set out and he was also without a paddle. As you can imagine, he only got a short distance before he lost the motor, which forced him to go swimming (not something he set out to do). As you can imagine the story of Stu’s adventure spread through Paisley like wildfire, and he could never live it down. The following Xmas his family and friends gifted him a new paddle and inscribed it with “Stu’s River Rules.” Therefore, if you want to know what NOT to do before setting out on the water, please ask his family about the paddle.
Stu was a loving, caring man, who was well-known for his hugs. He had an infectious laugh and was always willing to give a helping hand. I am told that he could also be a tad bit stubborn on occasion and had a short temper at times… especially with his kids! Honestly, though, he was well-respected and loved by many, and the easiest way to see this is by reading the condolences to his family. Stu truly will be missed by many! However, those affected most by his passing are his beloved wife, cherished children, and his grandchildren, Avery, and Leyna… the apples of his eye! Although his time with his grandchildren was limited, Stu treasured every second of it. Avery has fond memories of fishing and golfing with Papa and Leyna treasured all the memories made with him. Thankfully, these memories and stories will allow Stu’s life and legacy to live on for many years to come!
Sadly, Stu passed away suddenly at Grey Bruce Health Services, Southampton on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at the age of 62.
Beloved husband of Cathy (Gammie). Loving father of Shawn (Emma) of Port Elgin, Jenn of Paisley, and Tyler of Simcoe. Papa Stu will be dearly missed by his grandchildren Avery and Leyna. He will be fondly remembered by his sisters, Deb Tanner (Doug Volland) of Vanastra and Laurie (Bill) Reid of Paisley. Stu was predeceased by his parents, Bruce “Boogie” and Linda (Sawyer) McLaren.
A casual celebration of Stu’s life will be held at Riverside Palace, Paisley (293 James St.) on Saturday, May 27, 2023, from 2 – 5 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Paisley Splash Pad (please make cheques payable to the Municipality of Arran Elderslie) would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.